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ar­ti­fi­cial-in­tel­li­gence in­vestors would be fool­ish not to con­sider search gi­ant Al­pha­bet. the silicon Val­ley stal­wart is best known for ad­ver­tis­ing, but it’s re­ally a ma­chine-learn­ing com­pany. ad­ver­tis­ing just hap­pens to be where it flexes its sen­sa­tional ai mus­cle. When tra­di­tional Web ad­ver­tis­ing started to wane, it stepped up its al­go­rithms and dom­i­nated mo­bile and pro­gram­matic me­dia buy­ing with ai soft­ware that au­to­mates and op­ti­mizes me­dia place­ment. In the pub­lic cloud its open-source ten­sor­flow is the pow­er­ful ai plat­form be­hind the wiz­ardry of google pho­tos. ai is also cen­tral to its am­bi­tions in self-driv­ing cars and con­sumer elec­tron­ics. It even has life-sciences busi­nesses try­ing to con­trol hu­man ag­ing and com­bat dis­eases. It is also buy­ing small ai com­pa­nies be­fore they go pub­lic, build­ing in­cu­ba­tors and suck­ing up ai engi­neers from the elite schools. the stock is off its high and trad­ing at just 32 times earn­ings. Jon D. Markman is pres­i­dent of Markman Cap­i­tal In­sight.

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